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Recent Changes in State Law Expands Hiring of Detention Deputies at Oconee County Detention Center

Austin Goss

Caleb Collins

Ethan Karpiak

Killlian Young

Nicholas Berkemeier

Tyler Watson

(Walhalla, SC)----------------------------------In 2022, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Criminal Justice Reform Bill, which was signed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. As part of the Legislation, the age at which a woman or man could be hired as a Detention Officer was dropped from 21 years of age to 18 years of age.

The change in state law has allowed the Oconee County Detention Center to hire six men as Detention Deputies:

· Killian Young – 18 years old

· Tyler Watson – 19 year old

· Austin Goss – 19 years old – Basic Detention Graduate on February 20th, 2023

· Caleb Collins and Nicholas Berkemeier – Both hired at 20 years of age

Basic Detention Graduates on January 13th, 2023

· Ethan Karpiak – 19 years old

“The change in the age requirements for Detention Officer in a local jail was due in part to increasing the applicant pool for prospective employees who are interested in a law enforcement career,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “A woman or man who is 18 years of age, with a high school diploma or GED, and who meets other job requirements, can begin work in any jail or detention facility, including the Oconee County Detention Center. Our recent hire of detention deputies under the age of 21 is an historic time for our County. These men become the first in the history of our County to work in our jail prior to being 21 years of age.”

Under South Carolina law, a woman or man needs to be 21 years of age in order to work as a police officer due to the fact that someone has to be 21 in order to carry or possess a handgun. Since firearms are not allowed in a jail or detention facility, someone under 21 can work in this area of law enforcement.

“One thing that is unique about the Oconee County Detention Center is that we are one of the few agencies in South Carolina that pays Detention Deputies the same pay rate as Deputy Sheriff’s, says Sheriff Crenshaw.” The Detention Deputies play a vital role in keeping the jail secure and safe."

At the present time, newly hired Detention Deputies and Deputy Sheriffs are payed $40,000 a year. Once certified by the South Carolina Criminal Academy, pay for both Detention Deputies and Deputy Sheriff’s is raised to $41,500 a year. If someone is looking to begin a career in law enforcement, especially those who are now 18, there has never been a better time to do so than right now, according to Sheriff Crenshaw.

Anyone who is interested in applying for a position at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office can do so online by clicking on this link:

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